Learn. Share. Plan.
The Talk: Pre-planning Is About
More Than Death
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Maybe you want to encourage your parents or partner to discuss their final wishes. Maybe you’re considering your own funeral and cemetery planning and would like input from the family. Maybe you’ve already completed your arrangements, and want your adult children to take advantage of the same financial and emotional benefits you received by planning ahead.
It doesn’t matter which side you’re standing on, starting this conversation can be tough - and the reason is simple. People don’t want to think about death - yours, or theirs.
In the past, funeral and cemetery services were mostly just whispered about. There was no need for a lot of open discussion beforehand because everyone basically got the same kind of services. There were simply not that many details to talk about.
Not so anymore.
These days there are so many options to personalize final services that every individual can create a completely unique farewell that honours who they are, their tastes and hobbies, achievements, spirituality, cultural heritage and more. If all those decisions are left until the time of crisis, grieving family has the daunting task of guessing what their loved one might have wanted.
Clearly, it’s much easier - and kinder - to discover the options and discuss the arrangements together in a relaxed and positive environment. Talking about pre-planning today provides opportunity to exchange ideas and express concerns, and helps to ensure that everyone can be remembered exactly the way they want.
The trouble is getting the ball rolling.
There are varied ways to broach the topic. The way you go about it has everything to do with your personality, the individual you are addressing, and the nature of your relationship. For example, if the two of you share a lively, easy-going rapport, you might consider initiating the subject by sharing your ideas for making creative final plans that would suit you to a tee. Then ask them to imagine what might make their own farewell become a unique celebration of their personality, too.
If your loved one is more traditional and quiet about such matters, it may help to plant a seed in one conversation and pick it up again later when they’ve had time to think things over privately. You can even leave them some reading material on the subject.
Whether you want to take it slow or jump right in, time and place is everything.
Choose a leisurely time when there are no distractions. Take a walk in the woods, or chat over coffee on a stress-free weekend morning. Look for natural openings in the conversation. Talking about a recent funeral is a logical stepping stone, for example.
To get you started, the infographic below offers some additional pointers. Remember, it’ll likely take several discussions to figure out the details. Write down ideas, run them past family and call an Arbor pre-planning specialist for a free consultation. You and your loved one may be surprised to discover options you hadn’t even considered.